As my colleague, Scrivner-of-the-Obscure-Adoltin noted, temporal activity requires comprehension. Time-Turners do not appear from nothing, despite the best efforts of lesser minds in the Department of Unspeakable Research. Such a thought approaches ludicrous behavior: sloppy thinking in a position that requires absolute honesty of thought.
Here are a few notes from a former member of that august body. Oaths and vows are simple enough to circumvent, to a clever enough mind. My studies in Time go back to my earliest days of tenure – memorable days. It feels just like yesterday, oddly enough.
~ Charles the Time Lord, Master of Eta Beta Pi, Recipient of the Order of Merlin: Omega Class (Classified Edition), Advisor to Kings Past and Future.
Analogies for the concept of Time vary as much as the subject itself. Individual comprehension perambulates the intellectual capacity per conceptual designer, adjusting itself to relevant thought mode. Rivers, oceans, trees, all provide inspiration for temporal analysis, and each provide a unique perspective. Were this to be instruction of Chrono-centered processing, such a description would be sufficient. Concurrently, this temporal aspect is not limited to mere pedantry: masters of Time are able to bend it to their will, metaphorically speaking. Channels of Time have been charted, with certain events appearing set in stone as firmly as the Jaltin Firma temple of Eastern Mongolia (see: Wonders of the Ancient Majicks, Third Edition).
Time-Turners were first discovered in 302 AD, but became highly restricted through the studies overseen by Emperor Valenus. After the tragic incident leading to what most scholars consider to be the Fall of the Roman Empire, Time-Turners were declared a Restricted class item by the Magisterium Ultimos, an organization predating the current ICW (International Confederacy of Wizardry). In defiance of this ruling, multiple nations have established their own centers for the study of time, or enhanced what already existed within their borders. Enforcement of the Temproum Dictum is exceedingly difficult, as the keen reader would recognize. Due to the strict regulation, utmost secrecy is used, and only a barest percentage of each may truly become a Time Lord.
Our most famous members, of course, would be Masters Nicholas Flamel, and his gracious wife, Perenelle Flamel. The co-discoverers of the Philosopher’s Stone (also known as the Sorcerer’s Stone, or glat’e Bin) are immune to the effects of Time. They have gained tremendous insight as to the nature of Time, albeit the most relevant comment printable has been: “Time is like water; it’s fun to play around in, but too much makes your skin wrinkle (see: Thief of Time, by T. Pratchett).”
The design of the Time-Turner originated first within the Greek branch of magical study. Just as current academics cover such topics as Hexes, Curses, Soul, and Jinxes, the Ancient Greeks included Kronus as a branch of study for their Philosopher-Mages. Knowledge of time and space was deemed so important to the Ancients that the muggle King Philip deemed it necessary to begin educating the entire known world. His son, Alexander, continued the quest, and upon completion, retired to Alexandria’s world famous Library, founded and named by himself.
Structural designs show the Time-Turner to be an hourglass filled with sand, mounted upon a duel-circular housing, itself hung upon a runic-inscribed chain. Colors of the metal and sand vary per builder, from the copper toys made to experience déjà vu, to the Great Time-Turner housed within the upper levels of Big Ben in London, England.
An hourglass designed for time travel contains pure silica particulates, usually created from fresh obsidian. Conjured, Transfigured or pre-enchanted sands interfere with the enchantments necessary for time travel, and must be avoided at all costs. Experiments testing the boundaries of sand-enchantments indicate less than one micro-thaum output is required for minimal operative capacity. Optimal conditions necessitate far lower levels, under two micro-Flamels. Pure gold as a construction base is best, although mithril alloys extend temporal ranges for each device. Adding gemstones creates flexibility for geographical transportation, but reduces structural integrity, despite later modifications.
Note: this sand, once encapsulated within a fully enchanted hourglass, becomes imbued with the essence of Time itself. It can be wasted, saved, stretched and measured. But if released, the Sands of Time will behave as any other power of the universe, seeking to continue its course through the depths of materialized properties it contains. Just as lightning seeks the closest path to the ground, or the ocean tides rise without fail, so too will time seek its original path. Living organisms possess a finite quantity of time; Sands of Time will seek to regain their former state, and will absorb what little motes of the stuff can be found. Any wizard discovering a leak in their Time-Turner would do well to immediately spin back as far as possible, to repair the issue before it is too late. Else, he will first grow old, then his body will become sand – a Time Wraith for as many hours experienced by the original device. This, in part, is why the study of Time remains a closely-guarded secret: each device holds, in its soul, the potential to destroy its wielder.
Returning to the structural methods. A rotational addition (to the hourglass) stabilized the earliest creations, reducing chrono-stress fractures. As hinted before, the benefit of such a creation is obvious: with each activation the state of the Time-Turner becomes that of which it was during the earlier state to which it travels. Therefore, a fractured Time-Turner can become intact, if returned to a time point where its structure remained intact.
Such a device by itself is, of course, incapable of doing more than transport itself to the past. Indeed, according to legend, the inspiration for the first Time-Turner is attributed to the sudden appearance of golden hourglasses throughout Pompeii. Usage of the new time-pieces initially spawned belief of a complex hoax, except for a note accidentally attached to such an early device, detailing the effects of geothermic reactions. This gave the earliest researchers years to analyze wards capable of deflecting magma. As a result, to this day, the Pompeii Majicka Acadamia holds place as the oldest school of magic in continuous existence.
In order to facilitate more practical aspects, the same metal used to forge the Time-Turner’s structure must be used to construct a containment chain. It can neither be metal created in the same proportions at another date, nor another metal forged at the same time. Again, without exception, the same metal forged to create the Time-Turner structure must also be used to create the chain. Failure to adhere to this rule has lead to the extinction of entire Families, in accordance to the dictum: la Sangre llama a Sangre or Blood calls to Blood (see Hemophilia: A Small Treatise on Sanguinary Studies over the Essence of Life by R. Eduvidae). Particular caution is needed when engraving the runes upon the chain: if the containment chain breaks, there will be no returning of that chain to its unbroken state. Such a task would require Transfiguration, or added metals, either of which renders the Time-Turner into a device that hurls shrapnel throughout the immediate hours preceding and following each use. Tampering with a Time-Turner in such a fashion is subject to maximum penalties and a lifetime ban from Temporal Magic. If done in deliberate intent to sabotage a Family, the saboteur and all involved in creating that saboteur’s opportunity, are beholden to the target Family in accordance to the remaining known records of the Albion Accords (see: Filicide: Punishments Moste Dire, Chapter three, Page seventeen, paragraph two).
Sand used in the construction of the hourglass portion of the Time-Turner must remain untouched by Magic. Just as Time ignores mortals, so must a portion of the construct be made through ignoring Magic. Linking this pure substance into the matrix are the surrounding orbs. Like the chain and supporting structure, the glass containers must be created in one process. Etching of the glass must begin one full week after the initial melting process, with a single week between figure etchings. A direct correlation exists between duration of etching times and the timespans attained per rotation – one month between etchings grants far more time than the minimum seven-day waiting period, and a full year offers the most time possible.
It should be noted here that a single example of a Seven-Year cycle etching has been achieved, capable of taking the wielder three months into the past per rotation. Rumors exist of both a Three and Seven-Decade construct, with no confirmation. It is rumored that several powerful Families own such a device, but the likelihood of such a trait is akin to the number of artefacts belonging to Merlin, alleged to be in private collections (see: Merlin’s Teapot, and other Hoaxes, by Miss Anthrope).
Rules governing the usage of Time-Turners are best understood when explained through examples, both positive and negative.
The Irish Conclave of Brigadoon remains, in defiance of the International Statue of Secrecy, a city in Temporal Flux. By 1300, both wizarding and muggle Brigadoon populations had achieved equal numbers, and operated in full knowledge of each other’s existence. Contrary to the Witch Hunts occurring outside their borders, Brigadoon maintained a peaceful existence without external influence. When threatened with invasion by ICW Enforcement Divisions due to their lack of compliance with both the Statue of Secrecy and limitations on Temporal Physics, Brigadoon elected to perform an ancient Rite, modified through their mastery of the same. Technical observations indicate that while not Time-Turner based, the same runic figures invert the passage of Time throughout the entire region. Needless to say, the ICW placed wards around the entire town site, but is prohibited by its own rules to interfere with the workings of the Town-Outside-Time.
Another legendary place involving Time is Shangri-La, the ancient Tibetian monastery located between India and China. This fortress is considered to be the single greatest example of how a Time Lord may master his element. Ward structures of their own design reverse spellfire, negate the existence of attacking spells, or even render the area under fire out of existence. Three separate attacks have been recorded as being wiped out by their own fire, when the section of Shangri-La reverted to an earlier point in time, leaving an open space behind, with nothing to block spells.
The great Fu Manchu, known to be an inveterate prankster (See: Fu Manchu and You, by Ida Kno), created the ward scheme that has proven so effective. Despite efforts through Goblins and ministries, the secret remains intact. The simple truth remains: attacking Shangri-La is impossible. If invited to this location, you would be encouraged to know that every visitor is given the option to leave or stay, and many have chosen to leave. Each visitor has gone on to create masterpieces, and is considered a national treasure of their chosen home after that point.
Unfortunately, not all Time-related constructs are so benign as stubborn towns and untouchable temples.
The first example is the Flickering Man, found in the caves below Kenya’s famed dragon preserves. The outline of a male wizard stands in the center of a rune circle, unsupported by any projection schematic. Standard methods used in effort to dislodge the Flickering Man pass through his position, ineffective. More esoteric attempts have failed as well; attacking the runes directly have incinerated four full teams; Apparation through the Flickering Man is possible, but Apparating directly upon his position results in absolute Banishment. Neither Elvish, Goblin nor Wizarding magic can affect this, although one amusing incident caused the dragons above the Flickering Man to change into chickens for a single day. Considering the amount of magic required to mildly stun just one of the beasts (six Full-Mage level individuals), we have some small idea of the forces involved with the Flickering Man’s power.
As a second example, the wizard Eugene Roddenbury attempted to travel back in time by fifty years, an effort normally considered safe under controlled conditions, but dangerous without careful preparations. Mr. Roddenbury – a genius in his own right – created three separate Time-Turners, linking the chains together as the metal cooled, creating a triple feedback loop. Using this unique setup, Eugene became a form of Chronal-Phantasm, skipping through time in multiples of three, seven, and twenty-one. At the same time, his biological age fluctuated, ranging between seven to seventy years upon each ‘skip’. What made matters worse, was that each jump through time repaired the Time-Turner to its original state, an infinity loop of self-repair as it were. His journey ended after Tiberius Kirk, the noted half-goblin Arithmancy expert, determined a pattern to the time-skips, and erected a stasis field over Mr. Roddenbury’s predicted landing site.
The resulting interaction of unstoppable force and immovable object sent both Mr. Roddenbury and Mr. Kirk into the 1950s, and somehow divided Mr. Kirk into two individuals, one purely human, and the other almost purely ancient Goblin. Unfortunately, all three left Wizarding society nigh immediately upon this event, rendering further investigation of this phenomenon impossible.
One of the most graphic examples of improper Time Travel can be found in the experimental village of Roanoke, Virginia. This village was originally founded with the aid of Queen Elizabeth, one of the last True Monarchs to aid the wizarding populace, as a location for the more esoteric experiments needing to be performed well away from large population centers.
A series of improbable events occurred, very likely the result of a colony of Malaclaws discovered beneath the town site (see Malaclaw Venom: the Liquid Curse by Simmons et al). The decision to leave the nest in place was the first in multiple errors, compounded by the erection of the most powerful Notice-Me-Not wards in recent history. This ward was so powerful that Sir Walter Raleigh was unable to overcome its influence for years afterwards, always finding something more important to accomplish until the ward finally dropped. While the ward’s construction was a planned inclusion (a natural portion of every DoM Research station), the power output exceeded even the most optimistic of projections – Roanoke was indeed a powerful site upon which to build.
When shipments once again could pass through Roanoke’s barriers, every organism and object containing magic had vanished. Everything from wizards to house-elves had disappeared; even Transfigured objects as heavy as a multi-ton tree were gone. Worse, the magic inherent within the environment had been siphoned away, leaving the surroundings without magic. Muggle sciences would describe this as a ‘dead zone’, a magical equivalent to the fire-blasted earth seen behind a massive bombardment during Grindlewald’s War.
The word ‘Croaton’ lead investigators to a nearby native tribe, where two survivors were discovered (and natives Oblivated for security concerns). Of the two survivors, one had been driven insane, and the other was less than seven years of age. Between the two, it was determined that a Temporal Flux situation had arisen, sending part of the village into the past whilst other parts remained in the present. Oddly, individuals could walk from one phase into another, literally walking through time. Making the poor decision to take advantage of this, the Roanoke citizens were able to plant crops out of season, perform activities such as swimming in the middle of winter and carry ice into the middle of summer.
These time sheers had the unfortunate side-effect of warping mental faculties. Within six months, the inhabitants had gained excessive overconfidence, showing symptoms of Felix Felicis overdose. Three months after that, the inhabitants mental capacity reduced to that of something equivalent to an inferi, save for a few individuals. House elves vanished with deafening explosions, runic arrays melted in spite of protections installed by professional Ward-masters. In the end, anything made of magic disintegrated, leaving nothing behind but a few marks in the ground, and a pair of refugees that had fled before the end. Such failure terminated amicable agreements between the Crown and Wizengamot, a rift that currently remains unhealed.
This leads to the Rules of Time Travel. There are multiple sections, depending on the type of time travel being performed, and the form of object used. It will be assumed that a standard Time-Turner of no more than twenty-four hours is being used.
- Rule #1. You must not be seen.
- Rule #2. Do not attempt to change events that you know have already taken place.
- Rule #3. Never exceed the carrying capacity of your Time-Turner.
- Rule #4. If consistently using the Time-Turner, observe the Alfonsen Mental Acuity evaluations once every twenty four hours of turned time. See a certified Mind Healer should your personal evaluation descend below 75%
- Rule #5. Avoid contacting Class VII Magical Artefacts whilst Turning-Time. If such an Artefact must be taken back in time, wrap securely in silk and avoid skin contact.
- Rule #6. Do not combine Time-Turners and Ward-Breaking, unless granted special authorization.
- Rule #7. Unauthorized experimentation with time-retardant wards and Time-Turners is strictly forbidden. Penalties include execution, confiscation of all possessions, and obliviation; penalties will escalate if the infarction is sufficiently deviant.
- Rule #8. No. Elephants.
- Rule #9. Incorporation of gambling with Time-Turners is strictly forbidden, with the same potential penalties as Rule #7.
- Rule #10. Illegal activities, enabled by a Time-Turner, are subject to the same penalties pursuant of said activities, in addition to the penalties of abusing Time-Turner privileges seen in #9 and #7.
In closing, Time Travel is a superb method for gathering information and extremely dangerous research. Combining disciplines is hazardous, but profitable, given sufficient safety precautions. My thanks to the Department of Mysteries, and the best of luck in finding me. I have no doubt their Enforcement divisions will follow my trail as soon as this little publication becomes public. But then, the greatest question in my career will become evident: How do you catch a Time Lord? Only when he wants to be caught.
Charles Hahdinof, Time Lord, Master of Eta Beta Pi, Recipient of the Order of Merlin: Omega Class (Classified Edition), Advisor to Kings Past and Future. Former Head of Temporal Studies, Department of Mysteries
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